21st Amendment / Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 233 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kinnaird:
4.03/5 rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
I have not reviewed a beer in forever. I'm on this site frequently, and taste my fair share, but the reviewing bug has never quite set in for me. Well, I'd like to finally break the 20 mark. I've been sitting on 16 for entirely too long. Seeing as I have no work today, it's a cloudy day, and the mercury is sitting at a chilly 54 (it's late April in SoCal), this fine ale seems like it will itch the scratch.
Well, the name describes its color pretty accurately. It is an opaque black. No light penetration through my Bruery tulip.
Light hints of chocolate, herbs, and dark fruits (Mission Figs). It's very balanced without any single piece of this beer's aromatic puzzle taking center stage. At first I didn't like that I couldn't smell it from a few feet away, but I'm beginning to appreciate how the subtle aromatics demonstrate restraint. It allows room for this collaboration to grow on you.
It tastes like a 6% stout with a bit of a subtle spicy aftertaste that makes you wonder what all was added (if you didn't have the bottle or BA in front of you). After a few minutes without a sip, I pick up bitter, coffee-like roastiness. There's a reason this is black, right?
Nice and smooth. Not liquid velvet, but the carbonation is dialed. It's a 9.5% ale, and it should have the correct carbonation to match. Mitch, Matt, Shaun, and the rest of the talented brewers who had a hand in this project did a great job. They're probably not wine enthusiasts.
Drinkability is good. I recommend this brew just on its consistencies with a good American Strong Ale alone. But, the addition of the other ingredients makes this a delight. I'm not sure how this will change, but if it does get better, there's black gold in these little bottles.
Serving type: bottle
04-22-2010 23:04:38 | More by kinnaird
More User Reviews:
3.74/5 rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Opaque, dark brown color showing scant ruby-tinted light transmission at the edges; with over two fingers of beige foam head that takes its time to collapse down. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.
S: Strong wild yeast character, more band-aid than goat pasture. Dried, concentrated chile fruit is also detected, lending some minor dark qualities. Raw and rustic bitter chocolate is just barely evident. No alcohol is detected.
T: Begins off-dry, with dark syrupy fruit that appears as a mix of cherry/currant and New Mexico chiles (without the heat). This is also where the yeast-funk seems to be most noticeable--but never off-putting. The transition from fruit and overt yeast to mild refined roast is gradual during the middle. It is about mid-profile, only after the roasted malt has emerged, that a pruney-Dr. Pepper vibe also is hinted at. The finish is relatively sparse and dry, herbaceous and bitter, with just a huff of the characterful yeast. No alcohol is detected.
M: Medium to thick viscosity, smooth and slightly warming on the palate, with low carbonation.
D/O: Strong, dark, and experimental, this collaboration beer is unexpectedly loaded with yeast phenolics. Audacious fermentation metabolites, whether authentic or imagined due to the unconventional combination of ingredients, is not unwelcome in the fairly crowded profile of sensory qualities. Chile qualities abound, despite it's never having glimpsed a chile during fermentation. In the final tally it may not be a world-beating ale, but its illusory tricks prove titillating.
Serving type: bottle
05-24-2013 02:21:02 | More by beagle75
21st Amendment / Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.